Washington Babylon — May 15, 2008, 9:10 am

Was U.S. Private Security Firm Spying for Kazakh Government?

That’s the question raised by this terrific Wall Street Journal story. The firm is GlobalOptions, an extremely well-connected company run by, among others, former FBI and CIA officials. The Kazakh government apparently retained GlobalOptions to monitor, and possibly seek to derail, a Justice Department investigation into James Giffen, an American oilman who is suspected of paying tens of millions of dollars in bribes to President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Dariga Nazarbayeva, the Kazakh president’s powerful daughter, reportedly lined up the services of the private-security firm. (I met Dariga a few years ago at a reception at the Washington offices of GlobalOptions. She invited me to visit Kazakhstan and told me that if I took her up on the invitation I was certain to meet some beautiful local women. Quite a strange encounter.) In addition to being extremely “murky” in its operations, GlobalOptions was also (as I reported a few years ago) an Iraq war profiteer.

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